Leeds United out to enjoy ‘exciting’ Chelsea cup tie

Neil Warnock.
Neil Warnock.

NEIL Warnock expects his Leeds United players to enjoy the big cup tie atmosphere that will come with the much anticipated Capital One Cup quarter-final clash with old foes Chelsea at Elland Road tonight.

The Whites manager cannot wait for kick-off in the biggest game since he took over at Elland Road and believes all the pressure is on the visitors as they look to justify their odds-on favourites tag.

He said: “It promises to be fabulous with no pressure on us. Whatever team I select we can just go out and enjoy it.

“I hope we go out and give them a good game, but if we play well and they do as well there’s only one winner, so we have to hope they’re not right up to it and we’re on top of our game.

“We can give anyone a run for their money on our patch and it promises to be a really good cup tie.

“There’s nothing else happening in the country tonight so all eyes will be on the cup tie and it will be exciting.”

“I thought Man United was the biggest here, but there’s no doubt Chelsea is a close second.

“There’s no league points at stake, there’ll be a very good crowd and a super atmosphere.”

Warnock played down talk of Chelsea players being tired after they only returned from Japan on Monday.

He added: “It depends which way you look at it. Chelsea could put three teams out that could beat us.

“They’ve got a selection problem themselves, who to play or who not to play?

“Without a shadow of a doubt the manager will look to win it because he’s an interim manager and he’ll want to win every game and every competition he can, so I know how much it will mean to him.

“I think because of their defeat at the weekend Chelsea will be determined to get to the final.

“We’ve just got to hope they are a little bit off and we lift ourselves above what we’ve been doing.

“We’ve deserved to win in every round so far and I think that everybody is beatable on the day. We’ve got to try and not concede early doors. We’ve got to be on our game, simple as that. If we are not on our game we will get beat easily so hopefully we will start well and give them a run for their money.”

Chelsea will be without suspended trio Gary Cahill, John Obi Mikel and Ramires with John Terry still struggling to be fit after damaging his knee last month, but they are expected to have England striker Daniel Sturridge back after a hamstring injury.

Leeds will have to make at least one change from the side that beat Ipswich last Saturday with on-loan centre-half Alan Tate cup tied after playing for Swansea earlier in the competition.

Jason Pearce, who has not featured in the first team since being sent-off against Watford, is the obvious candidate to replace Tate while a further change could be on the left wing where another loan man Jerome Thomas is a doubt because of injury.

There are options with Luke Varney or Aidan White able to come in or Michael Tonge could move out to the flank with Michael Brown included in a central midfield role, but the Whites cannot field another of their wingers, Ryan Hall, who is also cup tied.